Ryan gets his Israel on, Jay Carney gets his Galilee on


In our story noting Paul Ryan’s ascendance to the second spot on the Republican ticket, we noted that his strength is not in foreign policy.

Mitt Romney, in an apparent bid to roll back concerns about Ryan’s chops, deferred to him today when foreign policy came up at a town hall meeting in Goffstown, N.H.


Ryan got in the requisite digs at the Obama administration’s Israel posture. Here’s the exchange, recorded (and exegicized) by the New York Times:

“When President Obama made the 1967 borders the precondition for the beginning of negotiations, it undercut our ally,’’ [Ryan] said. “It made it harder for the peace process to move forward, and as a result we have no peace process.’’

“We’ve both been there, we’ve traveled in this region, we’ve met with the leadership of Israel,’’ Mr. Ryan emphasized.

In 2011, Mr. Obama called for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict using the 1967 borders as a baseline “with mutually agreed land swaps.’’ It chilled relations between the president and Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s prime minister, though both leaders have sought since then to mend fences.

The White House spokesman, Jay Carney, responded:

We have an unshakeable bond with Israel and an unshakeable commitment to Israel’s security.  That remains absolutely the case, as the United States, working with an unprecedented level of international consensus, continues to pressure Tehran, to isolate the regime, to impose — with our partners and unilaterally — sanctions that have had significant impact, economically and politically, on the regime.  And we continue to believe that there is time and space to pursue a diplomatic solution to the problem of Iran’s failure to live up to its nuclear obligations.  And we, as part of that relationship, that security relationship that we have with Israel, communicate all the time about Iran and other issues in the region that are of concern to Israel.

Carney couldn’t resist a mild dig at Republicans when he was asked about a report that a GOP congressional delegation enjoyed a little drunken revelry at the Sea of Galilee last year. Rep. Kevin Yoder (R-Kan.) dunked himself in the lake clothesless, according to the account in Politico, and Carney, asked for comment, pretended to be speechless…

MR. CARNEY:  I’m at a loss, as I was when I read the story.

The Politico story said the FBI looked into the incident, which baffled folks across the web today — skinny dipping may not be in great taste, but it’s hardly a federal crime.

Late today, Talking Points Memo, citing only "law enforcement sources," reported that the feds were likelier more interested in Rep. Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.). The Staten Island congressman was among the Galilee revelers, but, his office was at pains to point out to the Staten Island Advance, did not skinny-dip.

The Galilee dip, however, might have come up as an aside in what appears to be federal interest in Grimm’s ties to folks (including an Israeli businessman) under investigation for illegal fundraising.

The FBI is looking at Grimm not for the Israel trip, TPM said, but for his next stop, in Cyprus, which was paid for by a group headed by someone now under investigation on corruption charges.

UPDATE: Laura Rozen of Al-Monitor connected these dots last night on Twitter:

FBI arrests Israeli fundraiser for NY GOP Rep Grimm 8/17. Day later, report emerges on FBI probing CODEL to Israel which included #Grimm…

Tonight, she wonders about the whys behind the leak; who’s trying to get ahead of this story?

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